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Large Sinu Rattle Figure, Pre-Columbian Colombia

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Sculpture: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1177160

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Large Sinu Rattle Figure, Pre-Columbian Colombia
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A large, custom-mounted rattle figure from the Pre-Columbian Sinu region of Colombia, circa 600 A.D. 1200 A.D. These figurines are relatively rare. This example measures approximately 8 tall by about 5 wide and nearly 3 thick. It depicts a plump female, as suggested by subtly modeled breasts, standing with her hands to arched to her hips- as if to form handles. The ancient maker masterfully employed a minimalist approach in depicting only the most essential, abstract features to suggest the human form; long incised lines to represent the eyes and neckline, a short version of the same to form the mouth, and only the slightest protrusion for the nose. She also displays a carefully formed navel and depressions for ears or ear ornamentation.

Her hollow form was carefully modeled to imply a sense of fleshiness and volume, featuring plump thighs and midsection, and a large head- such that she almost appears inflated. Forming a hollow figure with this sense of exaggerated volume exemplifies considerable skill on the part of the ancient maker. Such figures are thought to have possibly been fertility figurines, a theory supported by her voluptuous features generally associated with fertility. The somewhat crescent shape at the top of her head is thought by some to represent a crescent moon, also associated with fertility and female deities in various Pre-Columbian cultures.

Incorporated into her hollow form is a rattle function, which still emits a remarkably crisp and stirring sound when shaken gently. This feature, too, supports the idea of such figures as possible fertility figurines, since shamans have been known to use rattles in fertility rites. Holding this substantial artifact in hand, feeling the weight of it, and hearing the same rattle sound that would have been heard by the ears of the ancient ones is a special experience not offered by all artifacts.

Condition: Intact and in original condition, with no repair or restoration. Relatively minor ancient loss at the top edge of each side of the head, with only minor abrasions, chipping, weathering and wear overall. The surface is covered with ancient root marks and mineral deposits, indicative of the age and authenticity of this example. The rattle function still works perfectly.

Provenance: Former Florida, USA private collection.


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